Toxicity Distributed: Post Extractivism Economies

Driving the Human Festival


Video, Exhibitions
Toxicity Distributed explores future economies through a new array of green new deal transition jobs that deal with mining environmental liabilities. The project identifies the significant mining waste and residues in the Coquimbo region (Chile) at three different sites: a tailings dam, a eucalyptus plantation, and the future site of a desalination plant. Each of these sites, a current source of environmental conflict between local communities and the mine since the early 2000s.

We explore these future economies through speculations in the form of fictional tales that develop plausible future scenarios where these sites are subject to slow atomization via different trades that transform them into productive landscapes. These environmental liabilities are not sites to be reclaimed or remediated. They are past that point in terms of scale, so the approach is to understand how communities can learn to live with toxicity and develop a conscious perspective on their natural environment. These fictionalized tales are a political imagination exercise to claim back agency once the mine closes in 2037. In a second stage, Toxicity Distributed fictionalized tales are socialized with locals, engaging them in co-creation instances; the objective is to start a conversation around those future post-extractivist scenarios.

After socializing the stories, we expect them to become a folktale that can eventually awaken agency amongst a community often disenfranchised by the mine from their landscapes and livelihoods.


On exhibition from 15-17th of October at Radialsystem, Berlin Germany. One of the 21 selected projects by Driving the Human, an initiative led by – acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, Forecast, the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe.

Project idea and exhibition concept

AHORA (Linda Schilling Cuellar and Claudio Astudillo Barra)

Subject Matter Experts

Bernardo González Ojeda (PhD in Biological Sciences. Full Professor at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. Center of Applied Ecology and Sustainability.)

Ariel Muñoz Navarro (PhD Forest Sciences, Dendrochronology and Environmental Studies Laboratory at Universidad Católica de Valparaíso)

Victor Castelletto Puño (Marine Biologist, NGO Surgencia)

Karen Villanueva Mayne (Bioplastics Designer)